Celebrating the next generation of dental professionals: Dentsply Sirona and the AADR honour student researchers with the 2021 SCADA Awards

Dentsply Sirona and the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) congratulate the winners of the 2021 Student Competition for Advancing Dental Research and its Application Awards (SCADA) programme. Dental students participated in the virtual competition and awards ceremony as part of this year’s IADR/AADR/CADR General Session & Exhibition.

The 62nd annual SCADA student research competition and awards programme was held virtually and provided an opportunity for dental students to present their research to a distinguished panel of judges.

All United States (US) dental schools were invited to nominate a student to participate in the research competition in one of two categories – Clinical Science and Public Health Research; and Basic and Translational Science. Each student submitted an abstract for review to the 2021 IADR/AADR/CADR General Session & Exhibition.

Upon acceptance of the abstract, participants submitted a complete portfolio for review to an international panel of judges, including an electronic copy of his/her research poster, a slide presentation, and a video of the oral presentation. Research projects were submitted by 46 outstanding student clinicians and six award winners were selected. Each of the 46 student clinicians also presented their research virtually to meeting attendees of the General Session & Exhibition.

In addition, Dentsply Sirona sponsored 12 student research competitions in 12 countries, and five of these student winners were honoured during the awards programme. These students were from Hokkaido University, Japan; Kyung Hee University, South Korea; the University of Hong Kong; Taipei Medical University, Taiwan; and Chiang Mai University, Thailand.

A programme dedicated to research and international networking

SCADA was initiated in 1959, and Dentsply Sirona and the American Association for Dental Research have continued this tradition as co-sponsors of this leading dental student research competition. The SCADA programme includes a Global and a US Student Clinician Research competition and an annual Awards Programme. The competition and award programme have gained widespread recognition, and it has engaged more than 10,000 dental students from 28 countries since its inception.

SCADA is dedicated to two main goals. First, the programme aims to strengthen the field of dental research by supporting young professionals in early stages of their research careers. Moreover, it offers a unique opportunity for students to network with clinicians and scientists from all over the world as they develop their skills and advance their careers. While the networking opportunity was curtailed, students interacted virtually and had the opportunity to showcase their work and gain valuable skills as they virtually presented their research.

SCADA advances science and improves global oral health

“Dentsply Sirona’s commitment to innovation and education is part of the company’s DNA. The SCADA programme and our collaboration with the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research provides an opportunity to explore dental research and develop the young professional’s skills related to scientific inquiry, project development, management and presentation to colleagues and peers. Whether embarking on a career in academia or in their own practices, the research experience will benefit these young professionals throughout their professional lives,” said Dr Teresa A. Dolan, vice-president and chief clinical officer of Dentsply Sirona. “I am so impressed by the level of research demonstrated by this year’s group of SCADA programme participants. The diversity and depth of their research was truly inspiring, and their enthusiasm came across clearly, even using a virtual format, as they presented their work.”

Dr Mark Herzberg, president of the American Association for Dental Research (2020-2021), announced the winners of the student competition: “Today we recognise that, like scientists, intellectually engaged practitioners are going to be the lifeforce of the future of dentistry and oral health care.”

He continued to announce the winners in Category 1, Clinical Science and Public Health Research:

The first place was awarded to Eleni Langas, Marquette University, for her research on Influence of Scanning Speed, Tip Size and Pattern on Intraoral Scan Accuracy. Second place was awarded to Corey Winkler, East Carolina University, for his research on Accelerated Aging Effects on Colour Stability of Potentially Colour Adjusting Composite Resins. Third place was awarded to Joyce Lee, University of Tennessee, for research on Strength and Stiffness of Three Temporary Crown and Bridge Materials.

In Category 2, Basic and Translational Science:

The first place was awarded to Alexandra Rogers-DeCotes, Medical University of South Carolina, for her research on The TMJ Fibrocartilage-Bone Interface Requires ADAMTS5 and Mechanical Load. In second place, Kazune Pax, The Ohio State University, was awarded for her research on Sources of the Placental Microbiome in Pre-Term Birth & Pre-Eclampsia. Third place was awarded to James Seung Jin Jang, for his research on Gene Regulatory Mechanisms of Viral Interferon Regulatory Factor 1.

The student participants were grateful for the opportunity to continue with the competition using a virtual format.

“This experience taught me so much about the dental research process and how research can have such a positive impact on the delivery of dental care,” said Eleni Langas from Marquette University. And Alexandra Rogers-DeCotes commented that the programme allowed her “an excellent opportunity to share my research and will serve as a steppingstone for my career in academia.”

Additional awards beyond the SCADA competition

The SCADA Board of Directors also announced two fellowship recipients and presented awards recognising leaders in dental research. SCADA provides fellowship funding to promote continued scholarship and help support graduate education. Two post-doctoral students were awarded Henry M. Thornton SCADA Fellowships: Dr An Nguyen, University of California, San Francisco; and Dr Deepti Karhade, The Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

In collaboration with the American Dental Association, SCADA also awarded ADA Foundation/Dentsply Sirona Research Award for Dual Degree Candidates to Dr Lauren Katz, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The SCADA Board of Directors recognises leaders for their commitment to the advancement of dentistry with two additional awards. Dr Francesca Gori from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine received the Burton C. Borgelt / SCADA Faculty Advisor Award.

The Alan J. Davis / SCADA Achievement Award recognising a clinician scientist for outstanding service to the dental profession was awarded to Dr Martha Somerman. As an internationally known scholar and educator, Dr Somerman’ s research focuses on defining key regulators controlling the development, maintenance, and regeneration of dental, oral, and craniofacial tissues. Somerman was dental dean at the University of Washington and is the immediate past-director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.